A molecular link between the bats of New Zealand and South America

Nature. 1986 Sep 4-10;323(6083):60-3. doi: 10.1038/323060a0.


Along with the kiwis (Apteryx), tuatara (Sphenodon) and leiopelmatid frogs, the now rare lesser short-tailed bat (Mystacina tuberculata), one of only two species in the endemic family Mystacinidae, has long been viewed as one of New Zealand's archaic, mystery vertebrates, and has presented taxonomists with a major puzzle since its first description in 1843 (ref. 3). We report here the results of immunological comparisons involving the albumin and transferrin of Mystacina which indicate that its closest phylogenetic affinities are with the New World phyllostomoids--noctilionids, mormoopids and phyllostomoids. We estimate the separation between the Noctilio and Mystacina lineages to have occurred about 35 Myr ago.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chiroptera / genetics*
  • Female
  • Immune Sera
  • Immunodiffusion
  • Male
  • New Zealand
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Serum Albumin / analysis
  • South America
  • Species Specificity
  • Transferrin / analysis


  • Immune Sera
  • Serum Albumin
  • Transferrin